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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Off the Page...

The Mac 'N Cheese Can Wait
by Tama Westman

Editors tell me they are frequently disappointed by writers who fail to follow through on their open invitations. Editors are overworked and overloaded and will not ask for a query, article, proposal or manuscript, unless they mean it. Yet, only a fraction of writers ever deliver.

While it would be easy for me to point the accusatory finger at others, I know I am just as guilty. As I sit at my computer, I can see a stack of great offers from the last writer's conference I attended propped in the corner, yet to be answered.

When an editor gives you the green light, excitement reigns. However, when you are again alone in your office, with home details on the brain, it is common for writers to allow that excitement to be replaced with a case of "they-didn't-really-want-me."

An often lonesome career, we can be our own worse critics. We have to kick ourselves from such destructive cycles and concentrate full force on becoming our very best motivator.

Forget to fail
The first thing you can do to renew your writer's spirit is to forget failure. Ok, you failed to follow through. You failed to meet a deadline. You failed to write for the last two days. Get over it! I continually remind myself that the past is the past, as I raise a new line of attack for the day.

Today, this moment, we can dust off our to-do lists and get one, then two, then three things accomplished. E-mail your editor, post a query letter and write a new rough draft. Let's encourage each other to carry on, to follow-up on leads and submission callouts, to write!

Self-talk helps
Clear your head, clear your desk, and tell yourself you are only a few keystrokes from making progress. Then hit the keyboard with a vengeance. Let your fingers fly as positive energy flows through you. As you forge ahead, your brain will complete synapse somersaults as inspiration sparks and fires inside you.

Tomorrow, find time again to follow through on your dreams. For me, this meant making a mental and physical point to stop unpacking moving boxes, prop my laptop on the boxes instead, and write this column. J

The washing can wait, dinner can be late, your writing career is up to you. It can be more than you hoped forómore than you dreamed. Fiction writers, weave your tale today. Nonfiction writers, help those of us who need direction.

You are the only obstacle in making your writing dreams come true. Step out of your own way and get busy. The world waits to read what you will write.

Tama Westman writes the Off the Page column for Write From Home. As a correspondent and columnist, she publishes news articles, feature stories and her column, Cuppa Thoughts, regularly with her local paper, the Chaska Herald. She has served as the editor of the award-winning literary magazine, Haute Dish. Her articles appear in several local newspapers and, nationally in The Gathering and Light & Life Magazine.

She teaches creative writing and poetry classes with the AHEAD program (Achieving Higher Education and Dreams) at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, mentors high school journalism students, and teaches beginning and intermediate writers at conferences throughout the country. Married with two grown children, she keeps her balance with a cup of tea taken in the afternoon in her English garden. Further samples of her writing can be viewed on her Web site, http://www.tamawestman.com feel free to e-mail comments to tama@tamawestman.com









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